Removing the Distressing Influence

I got some good response suggestions on new ways of gift giving for the holidays from my blog readers. Here are a few:

"One year we gave my parents a low-flush toilet. It saved water from then on. One year we gave them compact fluorescent light bulbs. It saved electricity from then on. One year we gave them a floor lamp with a full-spectrum lighting bulb. These were items that were REPLACEMENTS, and did not ADD to their clutter. In our family, any CONSUMABLE item is always considered a great gift. (Food, toilet paper, etc.) LOL!"

This week I was asked a good question by one of my blog readers. She wrote:

"What if you are the family "historian" and you want to let go of the couch (that is part of the family history) but are having a hard's not useful and does not necessarily inspire me anymore....will you explain again what the connection is to the past and why it is so hard to let go...thanks"

I wrote:

"The reasons for the connection can be hard to know. There could be ten emotional attachments that all combine into one feeling of not wanting to let it go. The main thing is the presence of things in our homes that we no longer enjoy, that no longer serve us in some way, have a negative effect on us. When there's a strong attachment, we can rationalize reasons to keep the thing. But in my experience, it does not benefit the person to keep it. They feel better when the thing goes.

You wrote that the couch is not useful and it doesn't inspire you. That sounds like you don't like having the couch in your living space. You are also having a hard time letting it go. But maybe trying to preserve something from the past is not as important as taking care of yourself and your family right now. What's going to make you feel most peaceful?"

All of us are looking for ways to feel more peaceful in our homes. I call our environments living space because they are vital. We live there. We are affected and influenced by our home. We interact with our space. We change and add and take away things. We have a relationship with our place.

Sometimes we have a turbulent relationship with our homes. We feel at odds with where we live. The approach of clutter busting is not fighting, but seeing what causes you distress, and asking yourself questions to see if you can let it go. Things in your home serve you or not. Sometimes something doesn't but we think it should, and the emotional entanglement keeps the thing there along with the uncomfortableness and pain that it produces.

A great gift you can give yourself for the holidays and on an ongoing basis is taking a look and noticing what no longer fits in your life and letting it go. You remove the distressing influence that the thing causes in your life and you get a big piece of your life back. You become flexible with life again. You get a tangible feeling of openness that feels wonderful.